PRODUCT-led tech start-ups should be the Government's priority, urges a grassroots group representing regional technology clusters.

The UK Technology Cluster Group (UKTCG), an industry-led group that supports regional technology and digital business clusters, has outlined seven key recommendations to unlock the potential of the country's tech sector following the economic impact of Covid-19 – top of the list is prioritising support for product-led tech start-ups

The findings, in a report released today, August 4, are lessons learned from the group's Recovery Roadmap Summit on June 23, where hundreds of tech stakeholders, policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs came together in a virtual event.

While focusing on how the sector can grow as part of the country's economic recovery, the event also explored ways in which digital can accelerate the recovery of other sectors.

Through a series of workshops, the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s regions and devolved nations was also highlighted.

Sessions shared knowledge and best practice, considering ways in which towns and cities can come together to recover and reboot, while exploring how the tech sector can be harnessed to support local communities.

Recommendations include building early-stage programmes to help establish more product-led tech start-ups to drive a new flow of innovation into current successful scaleup programmes.

Calls were also made for a specialist programme to help public sector bodies to better utilise digital solutions, thought schemes must consider the local nuances regions to ensure successful engagement and impact.

The group also advocates greater emphasis on providing “test beds” for close-to-market digital innovation and stresses any new forms of collaboration between SMEs and corporates at a local level must be encouraged to drive regional and national research and development investment.

David Dunn, UKTCG chair, who is also CEO of Sunderland Software City, said: “The UKTCG exists to connect, share and grow the communities it serves. Through understanding ecosystem needs at grassroots level, we have unrivalled, real time access to tech companies and communities.

“The tech and digital industry’s importance to our economy goes unchallenged. We need to ensure people understand it, can access its knowledge and use it to drive their businesses, whether they’re startups or global giants.

“For us to succeed there is an understanding that the whole of the UK must be supported and help needs to be offered, and available wherever required, on the ground rather than directed centrally.

"“It is our firm belief that the seven key recommendations for policy that can make a sea change in the way tech can enable the UK to the forefront of the global economy.

“Each recommendation has a comprehensive plan behind it which we would be eager to develop further with key public policy makers for the good of our economy, our country and our local communities. The time is now to act on behalf of the grassroots.”

The Government is expected to release its digital strategy in autumn.